Further inquiries needed on Songkran booze ban


BANGKOK: Drinkers are being kept on tenterhooks after a ministerial panel on alcohol control has not yet decided whether to ban sales of booze during the upcoming Songkran festival.

The idea of forbidding consumption of alcohol during the festival was an attempt by the authorities to reduce the soaring number of road accidents.

Dr Nipon Chinanonvej, director of the office of the committee on alcohol control at the Public Health Ministry, said that a proposal had been submitted to the committee to ban sales of alcohol during Songkran Day that falls on April 13 every year.

However, consideration of the plan has been delayed as the panel’s chairman, Deputy Prime Minster Chatchai Salikalaya, was absent when it was due to be discussed on March 15 and has since ordered further inquiries into all the issues involved.

“There is not yet a new schedule to consider the proposal,” he said.

Nipon said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha had instructed that the laws be reinforced in order to decrease road accidents during the water festival.

Meanwhile Nikorn Chamnong, chairman of the People’s Safety Foundation, said that the powers-that-be should carefully consider whether banning the sale of alcohol during the Songk­ran festival was a good idea as suitable and app­ropriate measures had already been put in place.

“Moreover the cause of road accidents is not only drunk driving but also includes speeding and exhausted drivers,” said Nikorn, who is also director of Chartthaipattana Party.

“Judging from the New Year festival, the cause of the road accidents by drunk driving has already reduced. I personally disagree with the ban during the water festival.” — The Nation/Asia News Network